Power Of Attorney For Property; All You Need to Know

Power Of Attorney For Property; All You Need to Know

What is Power Of Attorney For Property?

A power of attorney for property is a legal document that gives someone the authority to make decisions about your finances and property if you become unable to do so yourself. It allows you to appoint an “attorney-in-fact” or agent to act on your behalf.

The power of attorney document specifies exactly what powers you are granting to your agent and can be broad or limited in scope. For example, it may give your agent the ability to access your bank accounts, pay bills, buy and sell real estate or other assets, file taxes, and more. The agent has a fiduciary duty to act in your best interests.

A power of attorney for property goes into effect immediately upon signing and remains valid even if you become incapacitated, unlike a standard power of attorney. It provides an important tool to manage your affairs if you are no longer able to do so.

How To Make Power Of Attorney For Property

Here is a summary of how to make a power of attorney for property:

  1. Choose your agent. This should be someone you trust completely to manage your finances and property responsibly. Often a spouse, adult child, or close friend is selected.
  2. Determine the scope of powers. You can make the POA very broad to allow full control over your assets, or limit it to specific actions like paying bills or selling a property.
  3. Use a POA form or have one drafted. Many states have standard fill-in-the-blank POA forms available for free. Or you can hire an attorney to draft a customized document.
  4. Name backups or alternates. Designate a second and third person who can step in if your first choice for agent is unable to serve.
  5. Sign with witnesses. The principal (you) and your agent should sign the POA in front of a notary public or two adult witnesses in most states.
  6. Inform institutions. Provide copies to your bank, brokerage firms, etc. so they recognize your agent’s authority.
  7. Store original securely. Keep the original POA safe but accessible to your agent if needed. Do not give up your own rights.
  8. Revoke if desired. You can revoke the POA at any time if your circumstances change. It ends automatically upon your death.

Having a properly executed power of attorney for property in place can give you great peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out if you ever become incapacitated. Take time to create this important document.

 

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